Hampton, Volunteer combine for 44 runs

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Hampton baseball coach Scotty Bunton was shaking his head.
   After his team scored 20 runs in seven innings, the impossible happened ... the Bulldogs lost.
   This reporter asked him if he would've ever expected to lose after scoring that many times. "Never," said Bunton. After all, the Bulldogs opened their game with 11 first-inning runs.
   But two hours and 35 minutes saw 44 runs, 29 hits, 20 walks and 10 errors, not to mention one remarkable comeback.
   Tugging toward the lead for six innings, the Volunteer Falcons finally took an edge and outlasted the Bulldogs 24-20 in a Watauga Conference thriller.
   "If somebody would've said that we would've scored 18 runs today, I'd be tickled to death," said the Hampton coach.
   "I knew with Josh Cole out there on the mound that we could win. But you've got to give them credit, they didn't get down and they came back."
   "Five of our seven innings on defense started with leadoff walks and they got a break here or there," he said.
   Cole lasted until the fifth inning for the Bulldogs before Eric Cole and Adam Miller came in for relief. Miller took the loss for Hampton.
   Daniel Byington started the game on the mound for Volunteer, but lasted over midway through the first inning before Matt Gilbreath came on in replacement.
   Dustin Dobbs proved to be the smart move for the Falcons, not giving up a run in the fourth, fifth or sixth innings while his team scored 11 during those frames.
   Dobbs wound out with the victory after Hampton's try at victory in the seventh was cut short.
   Combined, both teams' batters averaged 5.5 at bats apiece. It wasn't the most defensively-skilled outing, but it left people guessing what would happen next.
   At the beginning, it seemed the Bulldogs were setting themselves up for a five-inning victory. But errors plagued any chance the team had of emerging victorious.
   What saved the win for Volunteer was its ability to make plays in the field, while capitalizing with runners on base.
   For Bunton, the game kind of summed up the luck his team has had this season. The young squad has had solid offense in spurts, but has a hard time pulling away in the end.
   "This is a hard-luck bunch," he said. "We have a hard time winning games like these, and today, you need to have a calculator to add up all the errors.
   Each team had four players with multiple hits.
   Dustin Crumley (four-for-five, two RBIs, four runs), Brandon Barnett (three-of-five, two RBIs, two runs), Ben Harrison (three-of-six, three RBIs and two runs) and Justin Waycaster (two-of-six, three RBIs, two runs) paced the Bulldogs.
   Bart Berry (three-of-six, five RBIs, two runs), J.C. Frazier (three-for-six, four RBI's, four runs) and Tyler McConnell (three-for-six, one run, two RBI's) and Wes Bowery (two-for-six, three runs, one RBI) led Volunteer.
   Hampton had a big first inning out of Brandon Barnett, who singled and tripled during the stanza. Zack Trivette, Harrison and Waycaster each added multiple run hits during the game.
   The Falcons got their big bats out of Berry and Frazier.
   Berry had a two-run single in the first inning to open the scoring for Volunteer, while contributing throughout the game. Frazier's pair of two-run singles in the fifth and seventh innings helped seal the deal for his squad.
   In loss, Bunton was pleased with his team's ability to put runs on the board.
   "You've got to be pleased anytime you could do that," he said. "You like to do it and it helps your average at the end of the year. Games like these are tough to lose. We've got to get to making plays."